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From beehives to carbon credits, our 2014 Community Champions

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The votes are counted and five Community Champions have been selected

After six weeks of voting and 17,180 votes, the 2014 Community Champions winners have been selected.

Five winning non-profit organizations will received $10,000 from BC Hydro to help continue their conservation projects and to help make British Columbia and more sustainable province.

From Cowichan to the Kootenays, our Community Champions are implementing incredible projects. Check out the winning organizations and videos:

Connecting people to nature and community through bees

Vancouver's Hives for Humanity enhances community through apiculture, commonly known as beekeeping.  The organization helps people from all walks of life connect with nature and educates on the therapeutic effects that beekeeping has to offer, while supporting local bee populations.

Hives for Humanity is planning on using the conservation award to help cover the cost of beekeeping and garden workshops and to bring a new apiary to a community garden in Vancouver. This will provide the community with access to nature, allow them to connect with bees, and learn what they can do to be environmental ambassadors.

Learn more about Hives for Humanity.

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Wilderness retreat centre promotes sustainability

Located in the West Kootenay region, the Guiding Hands Recreation Society organizes the Tipi Camp, which is a wilderness retreat centre on the east shore of Kootenay Lake. Tipi Camp provides Wilderness Immersion for Self Esteem (WISE) programs, promotes environmental stewardship and sustainability, and educates children and teens about conservation.

The Community Champions award will allow for further leadership training of teen councillors, allow low-income families to send children to camp through a bursary program, and improve energy efficiency at the camp by contributing towards the purchase of new solar panels.

Learn more about Guiding Hands Recreation Society.

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Helping children lead the way to a better future

The Boys and Girls Club of Kamloops has been providing valuable social recreational programs for children youth and families in their community since 1955. The programs they offer facilitate child and youth development, with the goal of inspiring them to be strong, responsible and caring citizens of tomorrow.

With the $10,000 conservation award, their vision is to provide hands-on, environmentally focused programming. They also hope to hire a part-time sustainability leader to champion the program.

Learn more about the Boys and Girls Club of Kamloops.

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Carbon marketplace helps community act locally but think globally

The Cowichan Energy Alternatives Society is focused on finding creative solutions to energy and greenhouse gas emissions challenges. They provide planning services, feasibility studies and community carbon offsetting initiatives through their Community Carbon Marketplace (CCM). The CCM is a place where organizations can sell the carbon credits they produce, and buyers can lower their own carbon footprint by investing in local green initiatives.

The non-profit organization is planning to use their $10,000 to encourage the local community to make choices that support sustainable practice, and to allow the carbon marketplace to fund community solutions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions locally.

Learn more about Cowichan Energy Alternative Society.

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Sustainability club plans expansion on campus

Among the most active sustainability groups at the University of British Columbia student-run Common Energy is working to incorporate sustainability into all aspects of life at UBC.

The winnings will be used to fund programs aimed at engaging the student population on campus. Some of the main projects planned for the coming year include, Tap That (a campaign for water alternatives at UBC), UBC's Got Skillz (a series of workshops teaching students skills to make their lifestyles more sustainable), Do it in the Dark (an energy reduction competition in first year residence), Chew on This (a series of perspectives on sustainable food), and a campus-wide event for WWF Earth Hour.

All the initiatives currently run on a tight budget, and the funding will allow the group to expand the current programming and start new initiatives.

Learn more about Common Energy UBC.

Classrooms throughout B.C. win big too

Nearly 80 classrooms throughout the province took inspiration from our Community Champions finalists, hoping to make a difference in their own community. Twenty-five classes were selected in a random draw to receive a $1,000 award. From improving recycling programs and implementing energy conservation programs to building community gardens, the winning classrooms have big plans.

Surrey's Bridgeview Elementary is planning on using the money to install a water refilling station where students can bring reusable water bottles and drink fresh, cool water. Jessie Wowk Elementary in Richmond is planning on creating an outdoor classroom with the award, to allow students to participate in the school garden.

Learn more about how the winning classrooms are planning on using their award.